• Walter Collishaw and Petra Accipiter v. Environmental Health Officer

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    Decision Date: February 3, 1998

    Panel: Christie Mayall

    Keywords: Sewage Disposal Regulation – ss. 3, 7, Schedule 2, Schedule 3 – ss. 11, 16; conventional septic tank systems; conventional package treatment plant systems; alternate system; septic tank; dosing tank; intermittent sand filter; drain field; On-Site Sewage Disposal Policy.

    Walter Collishaw and Petra Accipiter (the Appellants) appealed a decision of the Environmental Health Officer (“EHO”) rejecting their application for a sewage disposal permit. The application was to construct an alternative sewage disposal system for a three-bedroom house they wished to build on a .54 acre lot on Thetis Island. The proposed system consisted of a 750 gallon septic tank, a 750 gallon dosing tank, an 18 foot by 20 foot low-rate intermittent sand filter, and a 50 foot drain field. The application was rejected due to an inadequate depth of natural porous soil to the groundwater table and impervious clay soils.

    The Board found that the proposed system did not comply with the British Columbia Sewage Disposal Regulations or policy because the depth of the water table at the lot falls far short of the provincial soil depth requirement of 45 centimetres. The Board also found that the heavy rainfall in the area, the small lot size, and the slope in the lot were conditions listed in the On-Site Sewage Disposal Policy as justification for giving consideration to increasing the depth requirement. To accommodate these concerns, the Appellants proposed to build the house with two rather than three bedrooms and to increase the length of the drain field from 50 feet to 114 feet. The Board found that given the percolation rate of 27 minutes/inch and 250 GPD of sewage flow from a two-bedroom house, the system would require a drain field approximately 310 feet (95 meters) in length. The Board found that a field of this size could not be safely installed on the site because it would be located too close to a roadside ditch on the edge of the property. The Board dismissed the appeal.